ST. MARYS — Trains used to rumble down the tracks from Kingsland to St. Marys several times a day when the county’s biggest employer, Gilman Paper Co., was in business.
But when the paper mill closed under new ownership in 2002, train traffic slowed dramatically. What was once a common sight in Kingsland and St. Marys now turns heads when the rare train passes by.
In coming months, trains will become a more common sight when an excursion train starts operating in St. Marys.
Officials from Boatright Industries, owner and operator of St. Marys Railroad, were in town Tuesday to discuss the creation of a train-related tourist attraction. St. Marys city officials, representatives from Theatre by the Trax and St. Marys Little Theatre attended the meeting.
The tentative arrangement is for St. Marys Railroad to provide the locomotive, driver and passenger cars. The St. Marys Little Theatre will provide creative development and people for entertainment and event supervision.
“Mr. Boatright is very community minded, and starting an excursion train in St. Marys is a win-win opportunity for the railroad and the community,” said Paul Pleasant, general manager of St. Marys Railroad.